Katherine Welles /
24 July 2014Americas

Patent expiries take chunk out of Lilly’s profits

A 17 percent fall in Eli Lilly’s second-quarter revenue to $4.94 billion, reported today (July 24), was driven by the expiry of US patents covering antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) and osteoporosis drug Evista (raloxifene hydrochloride), the company said.

Lilly’s second-quarter earnings were $733 million, down 39 percent from the same quarter last year.

The company lost US patent exclusivity on Cymbalta on December 11 last year. Since then, several generic drug makers including Teva, Sun Pharma and Dr. Reddy’s have launched their own copies of the drug in the US.

This competition has been reflected in the figures: US sales of Cymbalta fell by 91 percent from the second quarter of 2013 to the same period in 2014.

Four patents covering Evista expired on March 2. A 72 percent decline in US sales followed.

“Lilly’s second-quarter results reflect a substantial decline in revenue and earnings resulting from recent patent expirations,” said Lilly’s chairman, president and chief executive John Lechleiter.

However, Lilly said it expects growth from its portfolio of products including Humalog, Cialis and Alimta to offset its revenue declines.

In 2013, Cymbalta was one of the world’s biggest selling drugs, generating worldwide sales of $5.08 billion. Evista sales totalled $1.05 billion.

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